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All You Need To Know About Central Provident Fund (CPF): Interest Rates, Contributions And More

4 min read

For the uninitiated, this comprehensive CPF guide was created especially for you!

All About CPF

What Is Central Provident Fund (CPF)?

CPF Logo

CPF, short for Central Provident Fund, is a social security system that helps Singaporeans set aside savings for retirement.

CPF savings can also be used for housing, healthcare, insurance as well as certain investments. Both employers and employees make monthly CPF contributions.

What Can CPF Be Used For?

CPF contributions go into three accounts.

  • Ordinary Account (OA): For housing, insurance, investment and education
  • Special Account (SA): For retirement income and retirement-related investments
  • Medisave (MA): For hospitalisation expenses, approved outpatient medical care, and approved medical insurance
What Can CPF Be Used For
Source: CPF

Why Do We Have CPF?

CPF helps to ensure that Singaporeans save up for important things in life – retirement, housing, and healthcare.

According to a study done on financial planning attitudes of Singaporeans, about 3 out of 10, aged between 30 and 39, had not started planning for future financial needs!

The reason we have CPF in place is simple: it helps us set aside money for our retirement needs and reduces our nation’s risk of having to depend on a shrinking working population to support a growing number of elderly residents.

Amongst other things, CPF also helps to maintain homeownership rates in Singapore as these funds can be used to pay for home purchases.

Who Is Required To Make CPF Contributions?

Who Is Required To Make CPF Contributions?

All Singapore Citizens (SCs) and Singapore Permanent Residents (SPRs) make monthly CPF contributions. You will make and/or receive contributions in your CPF accounts as long as you are:

  • Working in Singapore under a contract of service.
  • Employed under a permanent, part-time or casual basis.

If you are self-employed, only MediSave contributions are mandatory if you earn an annual Net Trade Income of more than $6,000.

You can check how much MediSave contributions you need to make by logging in to my CPF Online Services with your SingPass, clicking on ‘My Messages’ and scrolling to the bottom of the page to view the message in ‘Others’.

You can, however, contribute to your three CPF accounts voluntarily.

The voluntary contributions will be apportioned and credited to your Ordinary, Special and MediSave accounts based on the CPF allocation rates expressed as ratios of contribution.

Check out the Self-Employed Scheme FAQs on the CPF website to find out more.

CPF Contribution And Allocation Rates

CPF contribution rates are the percentage of your wages that your employer and you have to contribute towards your CPF savings.

Your CPF contributions are distributed to your Ordinary Account (OA), Special Account (SA), and MediSave Account (MA) according to the CPF allocation rates.

 Contribution Rate (%) for monthly wages ≥ $750Credited to (%)
Age
(Years)
Employer's ContributionEmployee's ContributionTotalOASAMA
≤351720372368
>35 - 452179
>45 - 5019810
>50 - 551511.510.5
>55 - 60131326123.510.5
>60 - 6597.516.53.52.510.5
>657.5512.51110.5

Different CPF contribution and allocation rates apply to different age groups to ensure the employability of workers and to meet their needs at various stages of their lives. 

As we grow older, the proportion drawn from our salary and contributed towards our CPF accounts will decrease. However, the allocation rates to your MA will increase. This is to meet our healthcare needs, especially during retirement. 

To find out more about how your CPF contribution and allocation rates change as you grow older, you can read this article

CPF Interest Rates

CPF AccountInterest Rates*
(01 Jul to 30 Sep 2019)
Ordinary AccountUp to 3.5%
Special AccountUp to 5%
MediSave AccountUp to 5%
Retirement AccountUp to 5%

Ordinary Account savings earn interest of up to 3.5%, while SA and MA savings grow at up to 5% per annum.

*The above interest rates include 1% p.a. extra interest on the first $60,000 of combined CPF balances, of which up to $20,000 comes from the Ordinary Account (OA). Members aged 55 and above also earn 1% additional extra interest on the first $30,000 of combined balances, with up to $20,000 from the OA, thus earning up to 6% p.a. on their retirement balances.

CPF Retirement Sum – What Happens At Age 55?

When you reach 55, a Retirement Account (RA) will be created for you.

The savings from your Special Account (SA) and/or Ordinary Account (OA) up to your Full Retirement Sum (FRS) will be transferred to your RA to form your retirement sum. The retirement sum will provide you with a monthly payout from the payout eligibility age, which is 65 for members born on or after 1954.

When you turn 55, you can withdraw:

  • $5,000 or your Ordinary and Special Account savings above the Full Retirement Sum, whichever is higher
    and
  • Any Retirement Account savings (excluding top-up monies, government grants, and interest earned) above the Basic Retirement Sum as long as you own a property.

Basic Retirement Sum In The Years To Come

Hand Holding Dollar Bill

To help you plan early for retirement, the Basic Retirement Sum will be made known to you ahead of time. For each successive cohort of members turning 55, the payouts will need to be higher to account for long-term inflation and rising standard of living

Correspondingly, the Basic Retirement Sum to be set aside has to increase.

Year You Are Age 55 InBasic Retirement Sum
2016$80,500
2017$83,000
2018$85,500
2019$88,000
2020$90,500

CPF LIFE

CPF Lifelong Income For The Elderly (CPF LIFE) Scheme is a life annuity scheme that provides Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents with a monthly payout for as long as they live.

You can choose to receive your monthly payout anytime, from your payout eligibility age up to age 70.

Who Will Join CPF LIFE?

You will automatically be included in CPF LIFE to enjoy lifelong payouts if you:

  • Are a Singapore Citizen or Permanent Resident born in 1958 or after; and
  • Have at least $60,000 in your Retirement Account six months before you reach your Payout Eligibility Age (PEA)

What Are The 3 Different CPF LIFE Plans And How Do They Differ?

There are three CPF LIFE plans for you to choose from:

  • LIFE Standard Plan
  • LIFE Escalating Plan
  • LIFE Basic Plan

The plans differ in terms of the monthly payout you would receive.

CPF Life Plan Monthly Payout
Source: CPF

What Are The Estimated Monthly Payouts?

Your CPF LIFE monthly payouts would depend on factors such as:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Retirement Account (RA) savings used to join CPF LIFE
  • CPF LIFE plan type you choose
  • CPF interest rates
  • Mortality rates

The premiums and payouts are determined by an independent actuarial consultant.

Below is a reference for how much monthly CPF LIFE payout you will receive based on the retirement sum set at age 55:

CPF LIFE Monthly Payout Reference
Source: CPF

If you’re at least 50, you can use the CPF LIFE Estimator to estimate how much you can receive in monthly retirement payouts!


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